The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) said it has engaged some local witchdoctors in Benin, Edo State as ambassadors in fighting human trafficking in the country.
The Director General of NAPTIP, Ms Julie Okah-Donli, disclosed this at a symposium for the agency’s officials in Abuja on Monday.
Edo state has the highest number of traffickers and victims of human trafficking in the country.
Okah-Donli said investigations revealed that some local witch doctors were involved or used in the trafficking of persons to Europe.
“When we gathered these witchdoctors recently to sensitise them on what human trafficking victims go through in Europe, they were shocked.
“And they have made their commitments to work with us to fight the menace of human trafficking,” the NAPTIP boss said.
She said that the agency would involve and sensitise more witchdoctors in Edo and other parts of the country and make them NAPTIP ambassadors in fighting human trafficking.
Okah-Donli said that once human traffickers got a victim’s consent by force, fraud or coercion, such person would be made to take oath of secrecy and allegiance before a local witchdoctor in a shrine.
According to her, some rituals are performed on the victims where the potential victim’s urine, pubic hair, finger nails, eye lashes, menstrual blood, underwear and other personal effects are collected.
She said that once these rituals were done, it would be seen as bond between the victims and traffickers.
“In spite of the rituals and oath taking, the victim reaches the destination point only to realize the farce behind the earlier sweet promises of a greener pasture.
“And in this circumstance, such person is told in strict terms not to renege on the oath of secrecy as it cannot be reversed,” the NAPTIP DG said.
She pledged the agency’s commitment and determination to defeat the scourge of trafficking in persons.